The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
In 1961, the world watched the first televised courtroom trial as a Jerusalem court tried Nazi SS Lieutenant Colonel Adolf Eichmann for crimes against the Jewish people.
Eichmann’s role in deporting the Jews of Europe to concentration camps made him the target of a fifteen-year manhunt by Israeli agents. His defense, like that of other Nazis, was that he was “just following orders.”
The trial was an emotionally explosive event that revealed for the first time to a shocked world audience the Nazi campaign to exterminate European Jewry.
“The Trial of Adolf Eichmann” Classroom Activities were designed for students from the 7th grade to college level by Gary Grobman, who also wrote a Pennsylvania Teacher’s Guide to the Holocaust.
The first responsibility of the teacher is to teach the event. The actual history must be the foundation for any critical understanding and pursuit of the issues related to the Holocaust.
Understanding how these issues still apply today helps students remember that the Holocaust is not an isolated event.
(An Eichmann Timeline is also available)
Background & History | WWII, the Holocaust, and Eichmann
From Capture to Trial | Trial Info
Vocabulary | Discussion Question
Students will learn about –
- The facts of Adolf Eichmann’s life and the historical events which occurred during that time.
- The relationship of World War II to the Holocaust.
- Issues relating to criminal trials.
- Issues relating to relations between nations and the concepts of nationalism and sovereignty.
- The responsibility of individuals for their actions.
- Genocide which is occurring today, and the responsibility of individuals, nations, and international organizations to combat it.
Adolf Eichmann was the principal logistical military officer of the Nazis’ mass murder of 6,000,000 Jews during World War II. After the war, he escaped a prisoner of war camp in Germany, and eventually made his way to Argentina.
In 1960, agents of the Israel government captured him and transported him to Israel where he was put on trial for his Nazi war crimes. This trial, the first ever televised, was for many people their first education about the Holocaust.
Eichmann freely admitted to most of the accusations concerning his participation in a coordinated conspiracy which sent millions of Jews to their deaths, but claimed that he was powerless to resist orders from his military superiors.
A 16-week trial featured the testimony of scores of survivors whose lives were shattered. Eichmann was found guilty on all 15 counts of the criminal indictment against him. He was hanged, his body was cremated, and his ashes were scattered in the Mediterranean Sea.
by Gary Grobman
copyright © 1997 Gary M. Grobman
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